Paris – The colonies of holidays are more beautiful for all. Stays, often shorter and more expensive, to attract and mix today less children whose parents are also more difficult to separate.
“Believe that we will solve the problem of the attendance of the colos by reducing the length of stays to allow to remain in price ranges that are acceptable is an error and even a heresy educational”, insists Jean-Karl Deschamps, vice secretary-general of the education League, which is organizing this historic colony.
For him, “the work of education, it takes time”. A time that no longer have children who are here today, stays rarely more than a week.
If the League of education develops it also stays shorter, so she in spite of everything kept those fifteen days, even if they are the ones who “dérouillent the most in terms of attendance”.
“Over the past 10 years, the decrease is accentuated. Between 2007 and 2017, on stays longer than five days, we went from 1.2 million to 900,000 children per year, confirms Jean-Benoît Dujol, director of youth, popular education and associative life to the ministry of Education.
– “Dusting off the image of the colonies” –
At the beginning of the 90s, “it was necessary to dust off the old-fashioned image of the settlements, the private companies are told that there was a market by offering something new with a stay of sports, and more themes, it has met with success in a certain category more easily”, explains Quentin Joste, host of the colonies in the years 2000.
“The offer of the associations has been disrupted following the commercial offers”, the colonies were even “cut off from their public history, to know the families rather modest or middle-class,” he continued.
Stays thematic (sport, passion…) “had a larger cost than the previous ones for the families, and at the level of social diversity, it was not really that,” remembers Mr. Joste.
Aid to families, the Fund of family allowances (Caf) and local communities in particular, have not disappeared, however, according to Jean-Benoît Dujol: what are the “prices (which) have increased, and the aid (which) have been re-purposed on the most disadvantaged populations (…)”. The aid, they, “have not decreased”, he says.
Quentin Joste, now secretary-general of Wakanga, an association organizing colonies, noted “a certain degree of social diversity” in their stay, purposely few themes, with “25% of (their) public benefits of aid to the Fca”.
– Recreation “in the vicinity” –
But some families sent their children to summer camp today still earn “too much to be able to be supported financially,” but “not enough to be able to no longer be accompanied at all”, leading Mr. Deschamps of the education League.
And when they have the right to aid, they choose other options, such as “leisure activities throughout the year and less the holiday collective,” adds Mr. Dujol.
If the colonies are less crowded, it is also because “the removal of children has become increasingly difficult and often inconceivable” for the parents, points out Jean Houssaye, professor emeritus of science education at the university of Rouen.
Municipalities prefer today to be more “proximity” and “leisure centres”, whereas the works councils, who formerly offered a lot of departures in the colonies to their employees, have “privileged the family vacation”.
Follows from the closure of centres that were home to colonies too expensive due to the costs of maintenance and upgrading to standards. Their decrease contributes to the decrease.
These centres today have more State aid, which Mr. Deschamps has criticised the “selflessness” and the real lack of development of the colonies”.